Feb 10, 2022 - Sale 2594

Sale 2594 - Lot 249

Price Realized: $ 16,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 9,000
May Flowers. C-print, the image measuring 18 inches (45.7 cm.) in diameter; with the P.P.O.W. label on the original frame verso. 2002

Additional Details

Kathryn E. Delmez, Carrie Mae Weems, Three Decades of Photography and Video (Frist Center for the Visual Arts/Yale University Press), p. 196, fig. 21.1

In this tightly composed image, three young girls lounge together on the grass, their bodies conveying a beautiful pyramid-shaped system of angular and circular forms. The gaze of the central figure is direct and challenging, drawing the viewer into this intimate tondo. Much like the triskele symbol, the dynamic created in this image is taut with relationships, together creating unity. One image from a series and film titled May Days Long Forgotten, the work celebrates spring's renewal, referencing May Day celebrations of International Worker's Day, and examines the role of women and people of color within an established social system.

This work includes numerous visual references to 19th-century artwork, including the circular format and frame (which was conceived and created as an element of the work), the soft floral pattern on the subjects' garments, their bucolic pose, and the sepia tones of the print itself. These cues of wealth and privilege are immediately challenged by the three Black girls that serve as Weems' models, girls who presumably would not have been included within these structures. Weems' examination of race, class, and gender overtly and actively asks the viewer to reconsider historical narratives.

Carrie Mae Weems is the recipient for numerous awards, including the McArthur Fellowship "Genius Grant," for her unparalleled ability to address themes of race, gender, and identity in her work. "Balancing image making that commemorates the past while highlighting the ways in which the meaning of this past is changed by interrogations in the present, Weems celebrates what Roger Simon called ‘processes of collective remembrance.'" bell hooks in Carrie Mae Weems (MIT Press), p.18